But if you think in 8-bit, then it hard to imagine how much can be done. But in 14-bit, what a single level from 254 to 255 in 8-bit is 226 levels in 14-bit. When you know that to create a stepless gradient from black to white only requires about 200 levels of grey, there can be a lot of information in the highlights. The trick is how to tease out that information. Tones in an image are relational and, without things like masking, you cannot change that relationship in any way and still come out with something that looks pleasing or natural. However, it is certainly possible for different software to tease out highlights in different ways.